Water: An Essential Element of Life

It’s no secret that water is an essential part of life on Earth. With two thirds of the earth’s surface covered by water and 75 percent of the human body consisting of water, this critical combination of hydrogen and oxygen lies at the center of our universe. Water is also revered from a cultural and religious standpoint as a symbol of devotion and purity and has also been associated with healing medical properties, from the calming effects of a warm bath to the invigorating splash of a cold shower.

At Aqua Expeditions, the waters of our rivers provide the foundation for thrilling offshore excursions involving kayaking, swimming, fishing, wildlife spotting, photography and more! From hydrating our bodies to nourishing our food sources, to treating us to magical cruises on the world’s greatest rivers, it all starts with water.

Here is a more in depth “deep dive” into the importance of water in each of our regions:

The Importance of Water in Cambodia and Vietnam

Mekong River Fishing: Winding almost 3,000 miles from the Tibetan plateau down to the South China Sea, the Mekong River boasts the world’s largest inland fishery. It is second only to the Amazon River in terms of fish biodiversity. At least 1,100 freshwater species swim the waters of this mighty river. The inland fisheries on the Mekong River in Vietnam are among the largest in the world and are a lifeline for those in the region. Fishing is the main occupation for the Mekong River Delta’s population and is the primary source of protein for people in this area.


Local fishermen skillfully use their nets to gather their catch
which will then be transported to floating village fish farms.


Fish being harvested from a fish farm on its way to a local market for sale.

River prawns, snake head fish and catfish are our chefs’ favorite ingredients and can be found on the menu on board the Aqua Mekong cruise ship.

Rice Production: A staple of the national diet in both Vietnam and Cambodia and making an appearance in all three meals is rice. The Mekong River is one of the world’s largest suppliers of rice with over 38,000 square miles dedicated to the sacred crop. The Mekong Delta, also known as the “Rice Bowl” which contains 17 million people, 80% of which dedicate their lives to rice cultivation.


Drinking Water On Board the Aqua Mekong: If you have traveled with us on our Mekong river cruise, you may have been lucky enough to join our ship tour where you learned about the 4 phase water purification system on board this custom designed cruise ship. This state-of-the-art water reclamation system takes water from the Mekong and through a series of carefully monitored stages, provides the majority of the water we use for drinking, cooking, laundry and other purposes on board the ship.

The Importance of Water in Peru’s Amazon 

A Regional Economic and Transportation Backbone: The mighty Amazon River is a paradise for explorers and naturalists. And for 30 million river people, it is a vital economic element and communications route. Covering 40 percent of South America, residents rely on the Amazon for washing, bathing, cooking and fishing. Since there are no roads in the Amazon’s jungle, the river and its tributaries function as the roads and highways. Everyone travels by dugout canoes and even young children know how to paddle a canoe at an early age. Fishing, ferrying and trading make the river a main source of income for those living in the region.


Protecting Wildlife Habitats: The Amazon River is also the backbone of wildlife habitats in the Peruvian Amazon’s rainforests with more than 10,000 species of mammals, 1,500 bird species, over 1,000 frogs and 3,000 varieties of freshwater fish to say nothing of the abundant populations of insects.

Guests traveling on Aqua Amazon and Aria Amazon will explore the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve and have the opportunity to photograph and learn about the marine wildlife that call the Amazon River their home — from pink dolphins, black caiman, manatees, turtles to other aquatic animals. Only accessible by water, the Reserve offers one of Peru’s most fertile havens for sighting Amazon mammals, colorful birds and plants that thrive among its five million acres. In addition, park rangers will introduce Aqua Expeditions guests to some of the innovative conservation and sustainability projects taking place within this vast Amazon rain forest reserve.

Aqua Expeditions has made wildlife preservation an important priority with our ongoing work promoting increases in taricaya turtle populations and our support of manatee rescue and wildlife conservation of this vulnerable species by the Manatee Rescue Center in Iquitos, the Amazon Rescue Center (CREA)and the Association for the Conservation of Amazonian Biodiversity (ACOBIA).


Aqua Expedition’s Water Purification Projects: The team at Aqua Expeditions is dedicated to conserving the use of water and preserving the quality of the water in the rivers we cruise through. If local river water is contaminated, the consequences are severe for local communities, wildlife and for the economy. With our clean water project in Peru, we have launched a project promoting local water purification for local communities in partnership with local public health officials. We donated and installed 4 water purification stations in the native community of Puerto Prado on the Marañon River and trained local villagers how to safely reuse river water for drinking, washing and cooking purposes. This project was pursued with the assistance of the Health Center of Nauta, a city in the Loreto Province of the Peruvian Amazon.